This is a great time of year to take walk and notice the colors of the woods and wildflowers. Wildflowers, especially those that grow in fields and meadows have another function during the year – winter interest. The dry stalks come in hues of brown and gray and still can provide color and form in the garden. I notice different things about the plants in the winter – the arching stem, the shape of the seed capsules, the color of the stalk. In a white landscape these things stand out.
Clumps of grass left standing in the winter are very striking. Their blades (leaves) and seed heads stand out in the landscape rather than blending in as the do with the lush foliage of summer. Goldenrod becomes amazing – a forest of stalks with branching flower stalk topping some. Goldenrod gall, not noticeable in a sea of fall green stands out in the winter brown. Shrubs with seed stalks take on a new appearance without the leaves, the seed capsules become the “flowers” of winter.
When you go out for a walk and start to notice these interesting features that are obscure in the summer and fall, take note. These plants are great to add to your own garden and will provide the winter interest in your garden to make it a four season attraction.